Tag Archives: romance

Review of Jack of Thorns and Knight of Flame, by Amelia Faulkner


I picked up Amelia Faulkner‘s Jack of Thorns as an Amazon Freebie (it’s still free) and I think I got Knight of Flames through Instafreebie, maybe for signing up to her newsletter.

Jack of Thorns: 
Florist. Psychic. Addict. 

Laurence Riley coasts by on good looks and natural charm, but underneath lies a dark chasm that neither heroin nor lovers can fill. Sobriety is a pipe dream which his stalker ex-boyfriend is pushing him away from. Luckily, Laurence has powers most can only dream of. If only he could control them.

Aristocrat. Psychic. Survivor. 

Quentin d’Arcy is the product of centuries of wealth, privilege, and breeding, and is on the run from all three. A chance encounter with an arresting young florist with a winning smile could make him stop. Laurence is kind, warm, and oddly intriguing but Quentin’s wild telekinesis and his fear of sex make dating a dangerous game.

When opposites attract, they collide. 

Desperate to fix his rotting life, Laurence prays for aid and accidentally summons a fertility god who prefers to be called Jack. Jack is willing to help out for a price, and it’s one Laurence just can’t pay: he must keep Jack fed with regular offerings of sex, and the florist has fallen for the one man in San Diego who doesn’t want any.

If they’re to survive Jack’s wrath, Laurence and Quentin must master their blossoming feelings and gifts, but even then the cost of Laurence’s mistake could well overwhelm them both. How exactly are mere mortals supposed to defeat a god?

Review:

I really quite enjoyed this, flawed as I think it is. I simply liked Lawrence and Quentin. I liked the slow burn of their relationship, Lawrence’s history and the villain to be defeated. But I also thought the book overly long, Quentin’s attempt at aristocratic English so stiff as to be painful and his naivety unbelievable. He’s supposed to have not known how to use a bath/shower combo, or a cell phone, or understand any slang at all. He would have had to literally grow up under a rock to be as clueless about the modern world as he is made out to be. I do see the foreshadowing for something in his past possibly causing this, that will come out in future books, but I still couldn’t buy into it. Despite that, I have the next book in the series and I’ll be reading it.


Knight of Flames:
Headstrong. Telekinetic. Pariah. 

On the run from his family, Quentin d’Arcy has settled in San Diego with dwindling funds and the growing suspicion that his gifts might not be limited to telekinesis. When he meets a psychic who can control people’s actions with a few words, his comfortable life starts to unravel.

Demigod. Oracle. Hunter. 

Laurence Riley almost died killing one god only to discover that he’s descended from another. Before he can come to terms with that revelation, Quentin’s twin brother walks into his life, and there’s no way to know what his motives may be.

With great power comes great danger. 

Kane Wilson wants to make a better world: a world in which psychics are open about who and what they are without fear of reprisal or hatred. With the power to control others he might be able to pull it off, but there’s going to be collateral damage.

If Quentin and Laurence can’t get to the bottom of Wilson’s plan, Kane will out the existence of psychics not only to San Diego but to the world, and all hell will break loose.

Review:

I didn’t like this one as much as the first one, I’m afraid. I still liked it, mind you, but not as much as its predecessor. I found it predictable and Quentin’s naiveté about his own body almost drove me to distraction. If the man is asexual, fine. If the man doesn’t like sex, fine. If the man has had some past trauma and is afraid os sex, fine. But a 24yo pulling the old confused, ‘what’s this going on with my body’ schtick makes I want to scream. And his refusal to even look at or name his own anatomy, let alone Laurence’s annoyed me. How has a man lived 24 years and never experienced his own body? Dislike it, avoid it, shun it, sure. But don’t pretend he’s somehow lived his own life without ever noticing it was there or what biology makes happen every day! He comes across as if he might be on the Aspergers spectrum somewhere, but even then I’d expect him to know he has a penis, what it does and what it’s for, even if he doesn’t like it.

I liked the introduction of Frederick, Ethan and Adrien as side characters and I still find Laurence and Quentin a cute couple. I’m curious to see what is in Quentin’s past and how things progress.

Review of Shifted Under Construction, by C.E. Black

I snagged a copy of C. E. Black‘s Shifted Under Construction on Amazon when it was free.

Description from Goodreads:
Bedroom eyes and rock hard abs make for yummy eye candy, but Harper Mattox knows a bad boy when she sees him. She’s been there, done that, and refuses to buy the T-shirt. The scar was enough of a souvenir.

When Harper agrees to be the temporary secretary at H&V Construction as a favor to her best friends’ husband, Adam Hughes, she thought her days would be spent behind the desk, organizing until her heart was content. She had no idea she’d have to put up with the walking sex-on-a-stick Christian Viera. AKA, her other boss. No matter how many times she turns him down, he just oozes more charm in her direction, weakening her knees, as well as her resolve. And it’s only her first day!

When Harper’s life is threatened, Chris is ready and willing to protect her, showing off an animalistic side she never knew existed. She’s known violence in her past and has no room for it in her life now. Is the fiery passion between them enough to stick it out? Can she accept him? Fur, claws, fangs, and all?

Review:
This was entertaining enough for an evening read, but it’s one we’ve all read a couple dozen times by now. Abused woman meets shifter in the morning, insta-love, explosive sex before lunch, a little unnecessary drama to fill out the pages, more sex, and in love by dinner. Meh. Nothing special there, no world-building, character development, or base for the love.

I did like how Harper stood up for herself and how Chris was often described as looking panicked or confused. It was cute. But I disliked how he came on so strong from the moment he met Harper and wouldn’t back off, even when she clearly told him to. He felt like a player, which he’s supposed to have been, but the sort that pressures women into sex they don’t want to get him to go away. It did not make him endearing.

Further, everyone kept saying, “Yeah, he’s a player, but he’s really a nice guy” or “He doesn’t treat women well, but he’s a good person.” Um, how exactly can you take that aspect of his character out, exclude it and say he’s good. They are one and the same, there is no BUT. If he’s a dick to women, he’s a dick, period. He sure felt like one to me and never redeemed himself. He got what he wanted from Harper, pusher her away, got possessive, told her didn’t want a relationship but still wanted sex, then claimed her again. And she just went along with his every whim on this issue. Meh. I never came to like him.

For a quick read that you can go into knowing what to expect, get a couple chuckles out of this is worth picking up. Just don’t expect anything deep or well-developed.

Review of Blood Shackles (Rebel Vampires #2), by Rosemary A. Johns

I won a signed copy of Blood Shackles, by Rosemary A. Johns through Goodreads.

Description:
What happens when SPARTACUS meets VAMPIRES? Except the vampires are the slaves… In a divided paranormal London, Light is the rebel vampire of the Blood Lifer world, with a talent for remembering things. And a Triton motorbike. Since Victorian times he’s hidden in the shadows. But not now. Not since someone hunted and enslaved him. When he’s bought by his alluring Mistress, Light fights to escape. Even if he can’t escape their love. But if he doesn’t, he’ll never solve the conspiracy behind the Blood Club…

WELCOME TO THE BLOOD CLUB

Who are these ruthless humans? Who’s their brutal leader? And who betrayed the secret of the Blood Lifer world?

WHERE THE PREDATORS

London, Primrose Hill. Grayse is the commanding slaver’s daughter. The enemy. She buys Light, like he’s a pair of designer shoes. So why does Light feel so drawn to her? Ashamed, he battles with his desire, even as he burns for her. Can a slave truly love his Mistress? Especially when his family is still in chains. Will he risk everything – even his new love – to save them?

BECOME THE PREY

Does a chilling conspiracy lie behind it all? A stunning revelation leads Light to an inconceivable truth. To the dark heart of the Blood Club. If he can face his worst terrors, he can save his family and his whole species from slavery.

Maybe he can even save himself.

Review:
Honestly better than I expected. I always approach anything involving slavery, especially romance, very warily. So many ways to go wrong. But this managed not to glorify it or the abuse the slaves endure, physically, mentally and sexually. It was a little glossed over, still uncomfortable though, but not made out to be anything but horrible. This is not something I enjoy and I struggled getting through the book since a decent amount of it is dedicated to man talking about what it’s like to be broken.

I even eventually got used to the journaling format it is written it. But I could not stand the cant the characters spoke. Nut for head, neb for nose, lobehole for ear, mush for mouth, etc, etc, etc, etc. OMG it was endless and annoying. Plus, despite being set in modern London and one of the characters growing up in Boston, they all spoke it. Even the rich people you’d have expected to be well educated.

I also found it a little odd how many opportunities vampires had to kill their captors, even when they weren’t mentally broken, but instead just fought them. They pushed them or broke a bone or talked when they were perfectly capable of killing them and moving on. Especially when Light is made out to be an exceptional fighter.

The writing is very good and the editing fine, maybe not perfect but fine. I don’t know that I’d be interested in more of this series, but I’d be perfectly willing to read more of Johns’ writing. I found a lot of it thought provoking, even if disconcerting.